Waste Management and Treatment Centre of Jashore Municipality has paved the way for other municipalities on efficient waste utilisation for production of bio-fertiliser, biogas, and electricity.
The centre, the first of its kind in Bangladesh, started its journey in August 2019 with 47 workers and has produced 800 tonnes of compost manure so far - sold to local farmers at Tk7 per kg. Biogas and electricity generated from waste are also used in the centre.
Biogas is used to generate electricity. There are three generators in the waste management and treatment centre, which produce 200-kilowatt hours of electricity, said Project Supervisor Jahangir Alam.
He said municipal trucks collect waste every day. Although the daily demand is 45 tonnes, around 38 tonnes of waste is available. Though the plant has a production capacity of four tonnes of organic fertiliser per day, only 1.5 tonnes is currently being produced.
The centre can produce 720 cubic metres of biogas per day, but it is currently producing 450 cubic metres. Its electricity generation capacity is 430-kilowatt hours daily, against which 100-kilowatt hours are produced, he added.
Jashore Municipality Secretary Ajmal Hossain said even two years ago, this area was the dumping ground for the municipality; the surrounding environment was foul-smelling, causing people no end of suffering. Things have changed since the implementation of the project.
He said they have assigned three NGOs to collect garbage from the city. They go door to door, collecting garbage and throwing it in the dustbin, which is collected later by the municipal staff to be sent to the refinery.
Jashore Municipality Mayor Mohammad Zahirul Islam Chakladar Rentu said, "It was difficult to remove the hundred-year-old piles of garbage and make the place usable. Finally, we have done it."
"Jhikargachha and Monirampur municipal authorities agreed to supply the waste required to utilize their full capacity, but they later backtracked on the decision. In the meantime, we have gone into fertiliser production. We are also thinking about ways to process imperishable waste for alternative usage," he added.
Dr Mohammad Mahfuzur Rahman, associate professor, Department of Environmental Sciences, Jashore University of Science and Technology, said, "Waste management has begun in Jashore for the first time in the country, which is a good initiative. This could be a role model for other districts and has already drawn praise from India. As far as I know, the Government of India is interested in investing in this sector in our country. I am not aware of the technicalities of the project. However, if it can be implemented scientifically, we can expect better results."
The waste is first taken to storage after being weighed at the weighing station. Then, perishable goods such as curry, fruit peel, grass, leaves, etc, which are suitable for making organic fertiliser, head to the organic manure plant and are processed for 28 days for preparation of organic compost.
It is then dried in a boiler machine, converted into usable organic manure through a strainer, and packaged and ready for sale. The rest goes to the biogas plant.
The liquid and dry portions are separated from human excrement and sent to the plant, in which biogas is produced after four to five days. The remaining portion is used in organic fertiliser.
The waste management and treatment centre, which was constructed at a cost of Tk26.33 crore, is located on 13.97 acres of land at Hamidpur Dump on Jashore-Narail road.
On 31 December 2017, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the construction of the project through a video conference. Construction was completed in December 2018.
Along with government funds, the Asian Development Bank, the German Development Bank and the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency have assisted in the implementation of this project.